A 150MW solar farm near Scunthorpe has been given the go-ahead by the government’s planning inspector.
The Little Crow Solar Farm, from INRG Solar, will cover a 226 hectare site to the east of Scunthorpe and northwest of Broughton.
The plans were submitted as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project in December 2020 and recommendations were made to the Secretary of State on January 5 this year.
Bosses say it will generate enough energy to power up to 60,000 homes – the equivalent of half of North Lincolnshire.
INRG Solar Ltd, the company behind it, says that the solar panels would save up to 86,000 tonnes of CO2 being emitted each year. It adds: “Our ambition is to deliver a scheme that helps to address national and local electricity needs by providing a cost effective and renewable source of clean energy for current and future generations.
“Little Crow Solar Park could bring substantial investment to Lincolnshire over a minimum period of 25 years. As a significant local business, Little Crow Solar Park will be contributing substantial business rates on an annual basis to the local councils.”
A report to the secretary of state said there was “no doubt” the development was “broadly consistent” with national policies for “urgently producing more electricity, particularly from renewable energy sources, so as to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat the effects of climate change”.
It raised some concerns over the efficient use of the land and potential advice effects.
However, it said: “Setting aside the matter of whether or not the Proposed Development would be an efficient use of land, in all other respects I am content that there are no important and relevant matters that would individually or collectively outweigh the benefits arising from the proposed development’s generation of electricity.
“I also consider that there are no adverse impacts alone or cumulatively, or in-combination with other projects and plans, that would diminish the weight attributable to the proposed development’s benefits.”
It noted the construction phase would result in 233 direct and indirect/induced jobs and result in £15.9 million of Gross Value Added over an eleven month period, while when operational up 23 additional jobs would be created and an extra £1.2 million to the local economy.
The application is the 109th Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project and 68th energy application examined within timescales laid down in the Planning Act 2008.
The report mentioned “very little” community comment, with the few objections to the plans raising concerns over a lack of national policy, the use of farmland and noise and air effects.
The Planning Inspectorate’s Chief Executive, Sarah Richards said: “This examination took place during the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated restrictions, and the Examining Authority worked hard to ensure that local people, the local authority and other Interested Parties were able to fully participate.
“The examining authority listened and gave full consideration to local views and the evidence gathered during the examination before making their recommendation.”